Umami Mart Sake
IMG_9098

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all are well-rested and ready to start another RAD year with Umami Mart. We won't take you for granted! There are lots of projects in the pipeline, and we hope you will all enjoy everything we throw at you. Yes, we have closed our San Francisco shop, which was truly a difficult decision for Yoko and me. But no fear! We're just a hop, skip and a jump away over the bridge in Oakland, where we will continue to bring you the best in kitchen and barware from Japan.

And here on the INTERNETZ, we hope to bring you more of the good ol' Umami Mart BLOG that you all have grown to know and feel a connection towards (right?!?!). I hope we can arouse a sense of curiosity, joy and gumption in you while we write about food and drinks: recipes, travels, and random knick-knacks of thoughts and nonsensical blabber. Let's just have fun.

I admit I have not been myself since returning from Europe last September. The trip awakened my long-lost wanderlust that has been dormant in me for the last few years. My acupuncurist would call this Qi Stagnation, which she predicts has been building up in me for a while. There was something so familiar, yet so exotic in Paris and Copenhagen; I was hooked! Perhaps it was simply the thrill of being in a very foreign land; very far away from home. I had forgotten my love of traveling, and simply wandering.

After spending a few days in Paris, Yoko and I worked our way up to Copenhagen to say hello to our good friend and Umami Mart Partner In Crime, Anders. We try to see each other once a year, and in 2014, we decided to visit him in his homeland. I myself had not been in Copenhagen since I was 20 years old -- the only thing I remembered was the Carlsberg and the hot dog stands. With Anders by our side, we knew that he would show us around to see the Skankyest Copenhagen has to offer.

STUDIO ARHOJ

Our first stop would of course be to Skankynavia Headquarters aka Studio Arhoj. Anders spends most of his days here glazing, casting, and putting his treasures into one of the kilns.

IMG_9014
Reunited and it feels so good.

IMG_9028
Lava People and friends, with the best view!

IMG_9037
Copenhagen street view, with a bike lane, of course.

TORVEHALLERNE

Anders has written about this swanky market, full of butchers, fish mongers and specialty shops for anything from Italian cured anchovies to knives from Japan.

IMG_9091

An array of prepared seafood. Crawfish and shrimp were abundant in the city:

IMG_9096

IMG_9098

IMG_9090

The one thing I needed to have... a HOT DOG! This one was in front of Tivoli:

IMG_9118

CAFE SORGENFRI

Perhaps my favorite meal in Copenhagen, the gentleman's lunch tavern had been around for centuries.

IMG_9061

We ordered small plates of roasted pork, shrimp and fried fish, which was presented to us gallantly on a giant, multi-level tray:

IMG_9065

Butter with fried onions!

IMG_9066

I am a sucker for fresh, plump baby shrimp:

IMG_9067

After a round (or two) of schnapps, which Anders assured me was the way to have a proper gentleman's lunch in Denmark, I ordered a cold brew:

IMG_9069

Onlookers:

IMG_9070

foto 3
Photo by Anders Arhoj

The place was bustling for lunch as locals, businessmen, travelers and lady-lunchers packed inside this small, dark space. I enjoyed the gruff yet attentive servers, the checkered table cloths, and the history steeped in these walls.

IMG_9072

IMG_9044

LEGO STORE

Did you know that Legos hail from Denmark? I always thought they were American. Duhhhh. We found a rad Lego Dragon in this store:

IMG_9075

And Washi:

foto 4
Photo by Anders Arhoj

STILLEBEN

A very chic, upscale boutique in the middle of the city, Stilleben and Studio Arhoj collaborate often. Here are a few of his eye-less Lava People and Pyramid People:

IMG_9080

IMG_9079

LOUISIANA MUSEUM

A wonderful day trip out of Copenhagen, a short hour away, Louisiana has a wonderful modern art collection as well as rotating exhibitions. Right on the water, it is a sight to behold on warm summer days.

IMG_9109

Giacommetti's ladies:

IMG_9103

We brought our own picnic:

foto 5 (1)
Photo by Anders Arhoj

TIVOLI GARDENS

The last time I was in Copenhagen was in February so it was not only butt-fuck cold (like, really cold) but even more sad, Tivoli was closed. So visiting this amusement park in the middle of the city was very high on my priority list. Lucky for us, we had VIP entry for being with the Skankmaster!

IMG_9126

Tivoli was both enchanting and bizarre. Like this:

IMG_9125

IMG_9130

NIMB HOTEL & BAR

Bar Nimb is a posh cocktail establishment inside the super duper exclusive hotel overlooking Tivoli Gardens. The actual bar was tiny compared to the sprawling room, with plush sofas, chairs, chandaliers, and sweeping floral arrangements. It was a lovely way to kick off a night on the town.

IMG_9141

MADKLUBBEN STEAK

On advice from Anders' sister, we ended our night at Madklubben for dinner for a molecular meal. There was no hassle to get a table, which I appreciated.

They brought us a loaf of rye bread with a dagger speared into it, and branded butter:

IMG_9146

I ordered a starter of ham. Yup, just some gorgeously cured ham.

IMG_9149

Bar 1105

Anders' has frequently collaborated with Morten, owner of Bar 1105 -- a swank bar in a discreet alleyway in town. The barmen are professional and courteous. Anders calls it, "A bar for grown-ups." True!

IMG_9160
This gin cocktail came with a pickled chanterelle. Indeed, a bar for grown-ups.

We tend to cook a lot when we travel, Yoko and me:

foto 5
Photo by Anders Arhoj

One night, we stayed home, resting on the couch with chicken soup, while watching Cocktail! It was my first time watching the Tom Cruise classic, and did not disappoint.

In Denmark, you get parsley at the grocery store in pots. I liked this:

IMG_9084

We threw a dinner party one night and invited a couple of Anders' close friends. Here's our pasta with roe and parsely. Nice and salty:

IMG_9086

Last hot dog at the airport.

IMG_9170

I truly had a wonderful, relaxing time in Copenhagen; it is always such a treat to stay with a friend while traveling who can show us around town while catching up. Copenhagen is a comfortable, friendly city, and while it is now the "Design Capital of the World" it is grounded and unpretentious. And everyone we met had a dry humor, which I enjoyed. Until next time, I will dream of the hot dogs and bicycles. And satiate my wanderlust by writing about all my great travels, like this.

TORVEHALLERNE
Frederiksborggade 21, 1360
København K, Denmark
T: +45 70 10 60 70

CAFE SORGENFRI
Brolæggerstræde 8, 1211
København K, Denmark
T: +45 33 11 58 80

STILLEBEN
Niels Hemmingsens Gade 3, 1153
København K, Denmark
T: +45 33 91 11 31

LOUISIANA MUSEUM
Gl Strandvej 13, 3050
Humlebæk, Denmark
T: +45 49 19 07 19

TIVOLI GARDENS
Vesterbrogade 3, 1630
København, Denmark

NIMB
Bernstorffsgade 5, 1577
København, Denmark
T: +45 88 70 00 00

MADKLUBBEN STEAK
Pilestræde 23, 1112
København, Denmark
T: +45 33 13 33 34

BAR 1105
Kristen Bernikows Gade 4, 1105
København K, Denmark
T: +45 33 93 11 05